A Few Moments

For those of us who enjoy photographing birds, a few moments are often enough for us to feel that our time was well spent. This article shares a few moments with terns that I recently experienced during a visit to Hendrie Valley.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 150-600mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 373mm, efov 746mm, f/6.3, 1/2000, ISO-320, cropped to 4185 pixels on the width, Pro Capture L, Bird Recognition AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 31.1 metres

To say it was a slow morning would be a significant understatement. Even the terns were in short supply. I hadn’t been out with my camera photographing birds at Hendrie Valley for a little while so I decided to hang around to see what may happen.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 150-600mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 373mm, efov 746mm, f/6.3, 1/2000, ISO-320, cropped to 4185 pixels on the width, Pro Capture L, Bird Recognition AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 31.6 metres

Like many photographers I have an overabundance of images of terns doing standard fly-bys. Undaunted I panned with the few subject birds that were up and flying… managing to capture a few images of terns slowing in mid-flight by fanning out their tail feathers.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 150-600mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 600mm, efov 1200mm, f/6.3, 1/2000, ISO-320, cropped to 2660 pixels on the width, Pro Capture L, Bird Recognition AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 61.9 metres

The additional reach of the M.Zuiko 150-600 mm f/5-6.3 IS does come in handy as you can see with the image above. This photograph was captured with the tern 61.9 metres (~203 feet) away from my shooting position.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 150-600mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 373mm, efov 746mm, f/6.3, 1/2000, ISO-320, cropped to 4026 pixels on the width, Pro Capture L, Bird Recognition AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 31.4 metres

Sometimes the combination of a tern’s body angle, wing position and spread tail feathers… in some nice light… yields a pleasing image.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 150-600mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 600mm, efov 1200mm, f/6.3, -0.3 EV, 1/2500, ISO-1000, cropped to 2976 pixels on the width, Pro Capture L, Bird Recognition AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 61.5 metres

There were precious few opportunities to photograph terns fishing, but I was able to capture some frames of one doing a mid-air shake after doing a dive.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 150-600mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 600mm, efov 1200mm, f/6.3, -0.3 EV, 1/2500, ISO-1000, cropped to 3084 pixels on the width, Pro Capture L, Bird Recognition AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 60.6 metres

It is this type of action shot when the benefits of using a combination of Pro Capture L and Bird Recognition AI Subject Tracking are readily apparent.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 150-600mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 600mm, efov 1200mm, f/6.3, -0.3 EV, 1/2500, ISO-1000, cropped to 3444 pixels on the width, Pro Capture L, Bird Recognition AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 61.1 metres

Having the nictitating membrane of the tern clearly visible in the image above is one of those little details that helps to make a photograph even more enjoyable.

Fortunately for me another photographer spotted a mid-air altercation happening with a couple of terns. All I had time to do was look up… get the terns in my viewfinder… and fire off a quick image run. A few moments like these really made my day.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 150-600mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 391mm, efov 782mm, f/6.3, 1/2000, ISO-400, cropped to 3036 pixels on the width, Pro Capture L, Bird Recognition AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 76.8 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 150-600mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 391mm, efov 782mm, f/6.3, 1/2000, ISO-400, cropped to 3414 pixels on the width, Pro Capture L, Bird Recognition AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 77.8 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 150-600mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 391mm, efov 782mm, f/6.3, 1/2000, ISO-400, cropped to 2848 pixels on the width, Pro Capture L, Bird Recognition AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 77.2 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 150-600mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 391mm, efov 782mm, f/6.3, 1/2000, ISO-400, cropped to 3220 pixels on the width, Pro Capture L, Bird Recognition AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 75.1 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 150-600mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 391mm, efov 782mm, f/6.3, 1/2000, ISO-400, cropped to 3371 pixels on the width, Pro Capture L, Bird Recognition AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 70.7 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 150-600mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 391mm, efov 782mm, f/6.3, 1/2000, ISO-400, cropped to 3619 pixels on the width, Pro Capture L, Bird Recognition AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 73.4 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 150-600mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 391mm, efov 782mm, f/6.3, 1/2000, ISO-400, cropped to 3705 pixels on the width, Pro Capture L, Bird Recognition AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 79.8 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 150-600mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 391mm, efov 782mm, f/6.3, 1/2000, ISO-400, cropped to 3627 pixels on the width, Pro Capture L, Bird Recognition AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 77.8 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 150-600mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 391mm, efov 782mm, f/6.3, 1/2000, ISO-400, cropped to 3800 pixels on the width, Pro Capture L, Bird Recognition AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 78 metres

Experiencing a few moments with these terns was a great reminder for me about how fortunate we are to be able to be out in nature and observe its wonders.

Technical Note

Photographs were captured handheld with the camera equipment  noted in the EXIF data. All images were created from RAW files using my standard process in post. Pro Capture L and Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking were used for all of the images in this article.

Pro Capture L was set to 15 Pre-Shutter Frames with the Frame Limiter turned off. I used a frame rate of 18 fps. As is my standard practice a single, small AF point was used for all of the images in this article. This is the 1,394 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.

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